Lemont ready for state stageMorgan Rex, Lemont soccer. | Supplied photo
Updated: June 1, 2011 11:02PM
Lemont’s girls soccer team has reached a place most squads that start more freshmen and sophomores than seniors could only dream of.
So did Indians coach Rick Prangen think a run to this weekend’s Class 2A state tournament at Naperville Central High School, where the Indians take on Marian Central Catholic in a semifinal set for 11 a.m. Friday, was possible before the season?
“You know, we returned a lot of kids from last year’s team when we were really young and we’re still really young,” he said. “We figured a sectional title-game appearance was doable, and once you get to that point, it all comes down to who is playing well.”
Lemont (22-4) certainly is playing as well as anyone right now. The Indians’ 2-0 supersectional win Tuesday over host Peoria Notre Dame has put them into a final four field that appears relatively evenly matched.
Troy Triad’s sectional final upset of 2010 state champion Belleville Althoff has left the tournament without a prohibitive favorite.
Triad and Wheaton Academy, which defeated Lemont in the 2009 title game, meet in the second semifinal.
“Them knocking off Althoff was a surprise,” Prangen said. “I do think it is pretty wide open now, and it will come down to which of the four teams is the most consistent over these two days. These are the types of tournaments that are fun to play in.”
Like Notre Dame, which had won seven straight entering Tuesday’s match, the Indians will have to deal with a hot opponent in Marian Central. The Hurricanes (19-9), playing in their first state tournament, have won 17 of 19 since being 2-7 through nine matches.
“We know they’re playing their best soccer of the season and we know they deserve to be here,” Prangen said. “It will come down to small things, like set pieces and work rate.”
Freshman Kim Jerantowski (17 goals), junior Shannon Briggs (13 goals, 13 assists) and sophomore Wendy Mazur (12 goals, 7 assists) have led the Indians offense.
Freshman goalkeeper Kelly Fritz, with plenty of help from a backline that includes Lemont’s two senior starters — Elise Cody and Amy Skowronski — has recorded five shutouts in five playoff games.
Prangen is confident his young stars won’t be overwhelmed by the big stage.
“I was really impressed with our maturity and composure in a hostile road environment (Tuesday),” Prangen said. “I think we’re used to life on the road and ready to handle it.”